Epidural Needles - How Big Are They & How Do They Work
Health Care,  Surgery

Epidural Needles – How Big Are They & How Do They Work

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An epidural injection can offer excellent, efficient pain relief (analgesia) both during and after an operation, as well as during labor for childbirth. However, getting the injection can be a difficult process. Many people are averse to having an epidural during labor because it involves inserting an Epidural needle close to the spinal cord in the back.

The sizes of the epidural needles refer to the needle’s thickness and are based on its gauge.

But is there really a need for fear of the epidural needles? More individuals might have access to a fantastic method of pain relief if we could debunk the procedure. In this article, I’ll address frequently asked queries like why an epidural needle is so long, what a needle usually looks like, and whether or not it hurts.

Epidural Needles Sizes

Epidural Needles - How Big Are They & How Do They Work

Numerous sizes and lengths of epidural needles are available.

This variation in epidural needles size and length enables the needle to locate the epidural space in the spinal canal from the patient’s back, where pain relief must be administered.

This allows the delivery of an anesthetic medication into the epidural space (located in the spine) through a small tube and creating an “epidural block” for the patient.

So why are needles for epidurals bigger than those for a regular hypodermic? Their capacity to insert a tiny plastic tube known as an “epidural catheter” through the needle and into the epidural space is the key to the solution.

This epidural catheter can stay in the “epidural space” and act as a delivery system for a continuous infusion of anesthetic medication. As a result, patients going through labor can experience excellent pain relief for several hours.

Epidural Needle Size Measurement – Gauge

Epidural Needles - How Big Are They & How Do They Work

The terms “epidural needles sizes” and “epidural needle gauge” both refer to the thickness of the needle.

A thinner epidural needle is equivalent to a higher gauge needle. Adults frequently use an epidural needle that is either 16G (thicker) or 18G (thinner).

Does An Epidural Needle Size Matter?

Thinner needles appear to be less problematic when it comes to epidural needle complications. According to a recent study, contrasting an 18G vs. 16G epidural needle size.

Thinner needles seem to be preferable when it comes to epidural needles complications.

According to a recent study, comparing an 18G vs. 16G needle that has inadvertently passed through the epidural space and pierced the dura mater (thin membrane), those that had the larger needle were left at a higher risk of developing a headache, referred to as a The condition known as post dural puncture headache, or PDPH, results in a leak of cerebral spinal fluid into the epidural space.

Epidural Needles Length

Epidural Needles - How Big Are They & How Do They Work

Afraid of how long the epidural needle will be? Is an epidural really required to last that long?

Many husbands I’ve seen helping their wives get ready for the procedure have collapsed at the sight of an epidural needle length.

I can tell that they are wondering why an epidural needle needs to be so long from the look in their eyes. How does the anesthesiologist know how deep to insert the epidural needle?

Epidural Needles Length – the Standard Size

Epidural Needles - How Big Are They & How Do They Work

The epidural needle needs to be long enough to extend from the lumbar region of the patient’s back to the epidural space.

Pregnant women typically have a 4.9cm gap between their skin and their space. 8 cm is a typical needle length (see picture above).

Obese patients may need a longer epidural needle to reach the space.

How Does the Anesthesiologist Know How Far the Epidural Needle Has to Be Inserted?

Epidural Needles - How Big Are They & How Do They Work

On the epidural needles, marks have been imprinted to help the anesthesiologist determine how far the needle has been advanced.

Alternating black and silver colors are used to mark each centimeter of the epidural needle. Anesthesiologists can tell they are in the right place in a number of different ways.

Loss of resistance, which occurs when the epidural needle enters the proper location, is a common technique.


Why is Epidural Needle So Big?

In the vicinity of where they will insert the epidural, your doctor will administer local anesthesia using a tiny needle. This is done to lessen the amount of pain you experience when the larger than usual epidural needle is inserted.

How Painful is Epidural Needle?

You’ll get an injection to make you feel uncomfortable before the epidural is given, just like you would at the dentist before having a cavity filled. It can hurt a little when the lower back is first injected. However, other than the pressure of the epidural needle being inserted, women shouldn’t experience any pain after that.

What is the Most Common Epidural Needle?

Different types (Tuohy, Hustead, Crawford, Weiss, etc.) have been developed.), being Tuohy the most popular. These typically measure 17 or 18 G and 3.5 inches in length (up to 6 inches for obese patients).

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